‘Top-up’ fees indeed. And I speak as someone who defends intellectual elitism, traditional teaching approaches and culture and the utmost academic rigour in education. Highly qualified teachers valuing knowledge and supporting the arts for their own sake is paramount. I am vehemently against the continued commercialisation of education, misplaced emphasis on ‘the market’ and continued dumbing down of the value of degrees (3/4 of graduates now leave Universities with a 2-1 hahaha- if you had met these people you would laugh too).
I support Grammar schools and maximum meritocracy in entrance policies for Universities combined with the largest quantities of financial support to those from less well-off backgrounds. In my experience I have never met a single graduate of ‘oxbridge’ who has remotely impressed me. They have in fact been singularly dim combined with a pompous false sense of self-importance and entitlement, (I speak only from experience and realise there must, I hope, be some bright ones out there).
That being said, they are fantastic institutions that have, in previous decades, nurtured some of our finest writers and minds and we should support them in principle not denigrate them out of spiteful inverse-snobbery. In that spirit then, of course I agree that Cambridge University can spend it’s revenue entirely how it pleases and I’ve nothing against setting aside some cash for a good piss up, but when disgraceful fees are at an all time high putting off all but the most affluent candidates, this revelation is simply unacceptable.
Students aside, perhaps even more importantly despite it’s unmatchable wealth Cambridge University disgracefully has over one thousand workers paid less than a living wage. The living wage stands at £7.65 per hour outside the Capital has been a major debate and campaign within the University of Cambridge. Despite a vast endowment of £1.65 billion Cambridge laughably insists it can’t afford to pay it’s staff a wage they can live on. The snobs in charge would probably claim I’m just whining, but just as the funding is not available for disadvantaged pupils, the proper pay not there for workers, the wine, I’m afraid to say, is not with me whatsoever as The Independent reports:
“Cambridge University colleges spent almost £3m on wine last year, the same amount as spent on outreach programmes for disadvantaged students. The figures, obtained by the student newspaper The Tab, showed the 31 colleges spent around £7,000 a day on wine in 2012-13, with King’s College spending almost £850 per undergraduate in the year.” Top up, anyone?